My son, who is 13, wants to be an airline pilot. I have read you can’t be a commercial airline pilot until you are 21. When would you recommend that he begin his pilot training, and is there a way to make a living as a pilot before he is 21?
There are jobs that are available to commercial pilots that are less than 21, these typically include flight instructing, banner towing, maybe some charter work, etc. The problem your son might run into is that 18, 19 is really young and people might have hesitations about hiring him for those jobs as well. This is one of the many reasons that we recommend college first, then flight training.
Think the Boy Scouts with airplanes.
Thank you so much, Chris! Another question. We’re a little confused on university aviation programs. Is it best to choose a program that includes flight training or to do the entirety of the flight training after graduating college?
The airlines neither desire nor require an aviation degree. Should flying not work out either by choice or circumstance, an aviation degree offers no backup. Finally aviation degrees are extremely expensive.
With all that in mind we recommend a non aviation degree with flight training after.
There is a great post in the FAQ section on this, check it out here: How do I become an Airline Pilot?